Sneak peek at the first Australian iPad app

Xavier Verhoeven
25 March, 2010
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Local company mogeneration is claiming to have created Australia’s first iPad app: Carter’s Encyclopaedia of Health and Medicine. Mogeneration worked with content from Medwords to develop the iPad formatted 1,800 page encyclopaedia with more than 12,000 entries on topics relating to health, medicine and anatomy.

Early screenshots of the app show a beautiful interface reminiscent of a hardback encyclopaedia – it even has page creases and ribbon bookmarks. But unlike old encyclopaedias to which its design pays homage, building the reference app for the iPad results in an interactive textbook that is fully searchable, contains interactive diagrams, allows you to go back through your browsing history, and even adjust the font size.

The app has been submitted to Apple for approval, meeting the 27 March deadline required to launch on 3 April when the iPad goes on sale in the US. Of course, iPad apps are subject to the same review process as for the iPhone, so no guarantees can be made that it will be available at launch. With Australian customers waiting for a later iPad release, chances are that it should be available by the time we’re searching for it.

When asked how the iPad app came about, Keith Ahern, CEO of mogeneration told me that the team had been “working on the iPhone version for a while”. But after the announcement of the iPad, they began digging into the SDK and human interface guidelines and decided to do a few mockups of an iPad version.

“We were so happy with the results, we decided to fast track it and release on iPad first,” he said.

Mogeneration has developed a Mobile Publishing Framework, creatively titled “oompf”, that it has used to build this and other apps for the iPhone and iPad. “Many of our projects involve content transformation”, explains Ahern. In the case of Carter’s Encyclopaedia of Health and Medicine, the source content was in “a dozen Microsoft Word documents”. The company creates tools to extract the content preserving the formatting and cross references. This allows its developers to index all the information in a database so that it can be searched for fast access. The app then relies on an embedded webkit view to present all the text and content in its clean and stylish interface.

Some of the mogeneration’s past titles include Coastalwatch (App store link), an app that offers surf information and live video of beaches around Australia, and Food Advisor (App store link), which gives users valuable food health information on their iPhones.

At Australian Macworld, we’re eagerly awaiting the multitude of new apps that will hopefully appear for the iPad – especially those from local developers or with local content. Carter’s Encylcopaedia of Health and Medicine is definitely one to keep an eye out for when the iPad is available. Whenever that may be.

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